DARING | A starved python will not mind the spikes of a porcupine, after all, it can digest the deadly spikes. That is what one journalist or wannabe journalist must have thought when he approached a Facebook intel blogger with information for sale.
Titus Seruga claims that the ‘journalist’ approached him with information about a fellow journalist Seruga has been at loggerheads with, promising top secrets that would whet Seruga’s leaks to the fullest.
He asked for money in exchange for the leaks, impressing on Seruga further that he (the ‘journalist’) would meet and secretly record the subject of Seruga’s interest.
Titus Seruga has recently been trading intel spikes with the faceless Tom Voltaire Okwalinga, aka TVO, a veteran of eights years in the infamous trade of leaking top secrets on social media.
As the two, seemingly fighting for authenticity and dominance of Facebook space with their leaks, claimed to reveal the identity of each other, along came John Njoroge.
Seruga recently launched his sidekicks at Njoroge, accusing the former Daily Monitor and The Independent investigative journalist of being a Rwandan spy and Gen Kale Kayihura’s agent.
In a fight of a tiger and a leopard, a hyena waits in hiding to pick the carcass of the loser for a day’s meal. As the two exchanged words on their timelines, this ‘journalist’ asked for money to provide information exposing Njoroge.
“In his little mind, he [the ‘journalist’] thought he would track me by this transaction. Of course, I paid him what he required but no information was provided, this is how cheap Ugandan journalists have become,”Seruga fumed, who tied the extortion to attempt by his enemies to locate his hideout.
Armed with screen grabs of the IM messages he exchanged with the ‘journalist’, Seruga went about exposing the extortionist.
The ‘journalist’ had offered Seruga information on Njoroge’s dealings, his work, travels, and for whom Njoroge works.
“Tell me what you are interested in and I do the sorting. You will be surprised,” the ‘journalist’ told Seruga, “I know stuff that you are not even aware about and will surprise you. I can’t just give it away then wait for money because I have done this before with Ritah Kaggwa and got nothing after giving her the information.”
Seruga indicated he needed evidence pinning Njoroge to his works. And the ‘journalist’ appears to have asked for money in exchange as Seruga told him to spell out how much he wanted.
“I’ve no problem with that. I’m going to do exactly that because good thing I’m meeting him today. I will make phone calls and make their recordings,” the ‘journalist’ claimed to impress on Seruga.
“I know how these things are done because I’ve done them before. I just want at least Shs500,000.”
After some delays in remittance, the Belgium-based blogger eventually wired the money and proceeded to ask for the end of the bargain. There was no response and missed calls to the line shows the ‘journalist’ wasn’t going to revert.
The extortion coup on Seruga, though a paltry amount, leaves many wondering what would get an intel blogger beaten at their own game in such a manner.
Two men, desperate at different ends of the arm, one seeking information on a presumed social media enemy, the other playing the python daring enough to grab a meal at whatever prize…
In the end, the ‘journalist’ left with a meal to digest regardless of the spikes that followed due to Seruga’s expose. But Seruga himself left with his ‘reputation’ in questions as some of his followers wondered why he would “go to such shorts” for information.
“This clearly indicates how your info is unreliable. You run around buying fake info and return thumping your chest with fallacies. By posting this, do you think Njoroge needs to spend time neutralising you? You are doing it yourself,” a user, Edrine Mayanja Isaacs, commented.
The ‘journalist’ though is not knew to the game. A trail behind him has cases of extortion from fellow journalists, like the case around 2011 when he claimed to have lost a close relative.
Members of the Fourth Estate send condolences and contributed mabugo. However, months later, the ‘journalist’ announced the death of the same relative, leading some to ask how the same person can die twice.
As questions poured, it turned out that even the first ‘death’ was just a financial coup in the measly scheme of extortion.